Strategic partnerships: boosting relationships and reducing client risk

Stop treating your clients as ‘clients’ and start working with them as strategic partners. That’s the advice from RSA claims adjustor Tahir Miah as he demonstrates the benefits for both parties.

25 August 2022

One of the world’s largest biotech/pharmaceutical companies has been an RSA client for more than 20 years.

It’s a complex business. Within it, there are hundreds of companies operating globally through three different market sectors. Add to this the suppliers that support the entire supply chain. Every day offers plenty of potential for risk.

It’s also one of the best working relationships, says claims adjuster Tahir Miah. Thanks to a collaborative, supportive relationship, both the client and the RSA team have benefited. Here’s how.

Minimising risk

“Our client has a complex insurance programme insuring multiple risks in lots of different parts of their company," explains Miah. “My role is to help navigate that complexity when a loss occurs, working together with the client to ensure that the benefit of the policy with us is fully realised.”

Miah mentions a recent increase in claims involving infestation to medical shipments, where RSA jumped into the action.

“When we see those numbers increasing, we'll then feed that back to our risk management team to say something isn't right,” he says.

“So, if there’s a problem with a shipping lane, there are several things we can check. For example, we’ll look at every aspect of how the goods are packed and prepared, the carrier’s standard operation procedure and the condition and suitability of the shipping container. Working with the surveyors’ input we can identify the root cause of the issue and how future shipments could be better protected.

“Our risk management team will then make recommendations – for instance making sure best practice guides are followed to protect goods against infestation during the loading stage and making sure adequate checks are in place. Once recommendations are made, our client will then change the way the goods are packed and prepared for transit.

“As a result, you'll see a reduction in claims. So, it's not just a case of dealing with the claim, it's dealing with everything that's outside of the claim as well.”

Using and sharing data helpfully

“Obviously, data plays a significant role in helping us identify and reduce risk,” says Miah. Take the example of those medical shipments, for instance. To arrive at that reduction in claims, he needs to rely on his network partners to provide the same quality of data as RSA.

“That’s such an important element, and it plays a critical role in maintaining the high quality of service that the client is accustomed to,” Miah explains. “You've got to submerge yourself into data queries, but you come out of it more experienced and more adjusted to the client’s needs.”

Understanding the client’s needs also helps the team identify the best way to share the insights gleaned from the data.

Take the 60-page quarterly report, for instance. Miah saw that while the report was thorough, the client only needed specific information for their stakeholders.

He changed how the RSA team shared their reports. “Now we produce a 10-page quarterly report, which we share with the raw data and accompanying charts for each sector and location. This way, the client has all the information they need, plus their wider team can dig into any specific data that is applicable to them.”

Managing complexity

Despite the number of companies within and around the client’s supply chain, Miah and his small team work to minimise the complexity for their client.

“We oversee hundreds of entities at the client’s end … ultimately managing and optimising risk across the entire network. And the client has one contact: us.”

With 28 different local policies around the world and dealings with North America, South America, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, Miah and his team have their work cut out for them.

“Those local policies, for example, are issued where we can't deal with the claim due to legislation and there has to be a local policy in place,” Miah explains. “You're managing those relationships, as well as dealing with global networks. And we get around 700 claims on average a year on the global programme.

“We pretty much do everything for everyone. We take care of the risk management side; we manage all the local network partners. There’s a great deal of work involved. And you've got to be ready to deal with a wide range of complexities and issues.”

He smiles. “Of course, it’s not always easy. But you’ve got to meet those challenges head-on.”

Keeping it personal

Above all the complexities, the multiple policies and the global networks, it is the importance of the personal relationship between insurer and client that really takes centre stage.

“Having that good relationship is the key for an account of this size,” he says. “You've got to bear in mind that you’re not always going to agree on things, but it's how you resolve those issues that is really important.”

If Miah and his team see a process as ripe for optimisation, they know that a conversation can be had around the subject, even though it could be a difficult one.

“Our client knows that we don’t shy away from challenges. So, should we require assistance with something, or we disagree with something, we know we can have a productive conversation with them.

“Our close collaboration makes everything easier,” he says.

“It helps us optimise processes more effectively. It helps us spot opportunities. It helps us manage risk. And frankly, any tough conversations really just make the relationship stronger.”